BUENOS AIRES Argentine Juan Martin del Potro's chances of making the French Open and Wimbledon look doomed and even the defense of his U.S. Open crown is in doubt after undergoing surgery to a troublesome wrist on Tuesday.
The world number five has decided to try to resolve a nagging right wrist problem that has troubled him since before his fourth-round exit at the Australian Open in January.
Del Potro announced his operation in a letter released to the Argentine media, and said his recovery would be 'prolonged' but he could not set a fixed time on it.
"The recovery time is prolonged but it depends on many factors that can't be measured today," he wrote.
He said a specialist was carrying out the surgery in Rochester, Minnesota.
"All this year I've been wanting to avoid surgery with different treatments but evidently the injury is more serious," he added.
The rangy 21-year-old with a thunderously flat forehand stormed to a maiden grand slam title at the U.S. Open in September, coming from two sets to one down against Roger Federer in the final. The 2010 U.S. Open starts Aug 30.
Argentina's hopes of reaching a third Davis Cup final since 2006 will also diminish with Del Potro's absence from their quarter-final in Russia in July. The Russians beat Argentina in the 2006 final in Moscow.
There had been growing speculation in Argentine media, fueled by a lack of news out of the player's camp in his home town of Tandil, that Del Potro's absence from the ATP Tour since January was partially down to a fear of the big stage.
Del Potro's letter was also aimed at answering those "false and malicious stories about my state of mind and physical condition.
"As you will understand, this is not a happy moment in my life. But I'm used to fighting adversity and I have the strength to carry this through."
(Editing by Miles Evans)